What’s the Difference Between Power Washing and Pressure Washing?

What's the Difference Between Power Washing and Pressure Washing?

Power washing and pressure washing are two popular cleaning methods that use pressurized water to remove dirt, grime, mold, and other contaminants from surfaces. Both involve spraying surfaces with water at high pressure, but there are some key differences between these two cleaning techniques.

What is Power Washing?

Power washing, also known as pressure washing, uses an electric or gas-powered motor to run a water pump that pressurizes water. The pressurized water is then ejected from a wand or nozzle attachment.Power washers deliver water at high pressures ranging from 1000 to 5000 PSI (pounds per square inch) and high flow rates of 2-5 gallons per minute.

What is Power Washing?

The powerful blast of water What’s the Difference Between Power Washing and Pressure Washing? helps remove stubborn dirt, grime, mold, mildew, paint, grease, and other contaminants from surfaces.

Power washing is effective for cleaning:

  • Exterior house sidings
  • Decks, patios, and driveways
  • Sidewalks, brickwork, and concrete
  • Outdoor furniture and play equipment
  • Boats, RVs, and vehicles

The intense water pressure makes power washing a quick and efficient deep cleaning method for all kinds of surfaces and objects.

What is Pressure Washing?

Pressure washing is very similar to power washing. The main difference is that Pressure Washers use lower water pressure, typically around 500 to 1500 PSI.

While power washers use electric or gas motors, What’s the Difference Between Power Washing and Pressure Washing? run on electric motors only. Pressure washers deliver 1-4 gallons per minute flow rate.

The moderately-high pressure makes suitable for more delicate surfaces that would be damaged by an ultra-high pressure power washer. Pressure washing works well for:

  • Wood decks and fences (avoids splintering wood)
  • Roofs and gutters (won’t damage shingles)
  • Canvas awnings and patio umbrellas
  • Brickwork and concrete (doesn’t etch surface)
  • Cars, boats, and RVs

Pressure washing can still tackle many dirt, mold, and grime removal jobs. But very heavy deposits often need the extra power of a power washer.

Power Washer vs. Pressure Washer Comparison

Here is a quick comparison of power washers and pressure washers:

  • Water Pressure – Power washers have max pressures of 1000-5000 PSI. Pressure washers max out at around 1500-2000 PSI.
  • Water Volume – Power washers deliver 2-5 gallons per minute (GPM). Pressure washers deliver 1-4 GPM.
  • Power Source – Power washers use gas or electric motors. What’s the Difference Between Power Washing and Pressure Washing? use only electric motors.
  • Cleaning Ability – Power washers clean faster and more aggressively. Pressure washers provide moderate cleaning suitable for more delicate work.
  • Cost – Power washers generally cost more than pressure washers.
  • Uses – Power washers are ideal for houses, driveways, decks. Pressure washers are better for roofs, brick, wood, and vehicles.

When to Choose Power Washing vs. Pressure Washing

Deciding between power vs. pressure washing depends on a few considerations:

Surface Type

  • Delicate surfaces like wood, vinyl, or fiber cement siding should be pressure washed to avoid damage.
  • Brick, concrete, stonework require power washing to thoroughly clean What’s the Difference Between Power Washing and Pressure Washing? pores and remove grime in crevices.

Level of Dirtiness

  • Light dirt and grime come off with a pressure washer.
  • Heavy layers of mold, grease, gum, or paint need a power washer.

Desired Result

  • Pressure washing provides light cleaning and is gentler.
  • Power washing strips and aggressively cleans when you want a deep clean.

Noise and Overspray

  • Pressure washers generate less noise and misting/overspray.
  • Power washers make more noise and can create lots of mist.

Power Washer Safety Tips

Power washers can cause serious injury or property damage if not used correctly:

  • Never point the wand at people, pets, or yourself
  • Keep the high-pressure nozzle 12+ inches from the cleaning surface
  • Always check your work area for hazards like loose railings, electrical outlets, or delicate objects first
  • Use extra caution on ladders or uneven surfaces to avoid falls while operating a power washer
  • Wear protective eye goggles and footwear while power washing
  • Turn off and depressurize the power washer before changing nozzle tips or making any adjustments

Hiring a Professional for Power Washing

Power washing requires skill to do safely and properly. Consider hiring a professional power washing company for large jobs or high surfaces like second floors or roofs. Professionals have specialized equipment and expertise to handle challenging power washing projects.


While power washing and pressure washing are very similar cleaning methods, power washing provides superior cleaning power with ultra-high What’s the Difference Between Power Washing and Pressure Washing? flow. Pressure washing is gentler but still effective for moderate dirt and grime removal. Assess the surface type, how dirty it is, and desired results to decide whether pressure washing or more aggressive power washing is right for your cleaning needs.

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